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FakePigskin Podcast is back!

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The FakePigskin Fantasy Football Podcast is back! Aaron Marcotte and Allen Bassett kick off the inaugural podcast.

Here is a recap of MisterMarkot’s perspective from the Podcast:

Intro:

I am Aaron Marcotte aka MisterMarkot on Twitter. The commish & the old guy that still beats kids in video games. Played all 3 major sports growing up but switched to strictly basketball in college. I started playing fantasy in 2003 with a buddy from HS and his dad. I drafted Fred Taylor & Travis Henry based on my Madden knowledge and finished top 3 in the league. Since that day, I was hooked. Now, I’m a Diamond-ranked manager on Yahoo with a rating of 911 – someone call the Humble-Cops!

After getting duped over a couple times from commissioners adding ridiculous scoring for return yards, passing attempts, and other nonsense, I decided to run my own league. I wanted to create the system and share it with my friends… telling them what the intricacies were.

10 years ago, my buddy was in a league where the commish wrote power rankings. They were 2-3 sentences on each team as to why he ranked them where he ranked them. Unsurprisingly, these were mainly inside jokes about the person with a tiny bit of actual football acumen thrown in. Of course I had to go above and beyond in my leagues… so I started writing my own power rankings. 500 words turned into 1,000 words then into 2,000… now I hit about 4,000 words. Just how long is that you ask? Well, I googled it and it turns out it’s 8 pages single-spaced and 16 double-spaced. Math.

Been with FakePigskin since the beginning… 2012/2013 was it? Allen was too… don’t think either of us knew it then, but here we are now, video chatting about sports like some BFF’s.

Snake draft strategy:

Single RB is far too risky for me this year. We are seeing a resurgence of 1RB workhorses this year with 18-20 teams giving 75%+ to one guy. RBBC was the way of the last 4-5 years but we are switching back. I want 3-4 running backs with my first 8-9 picks or I’m going to feel like I’m in trouble for the season.

Auction draft strategy:

The number one thing for me in auctions is going in with a plan. It’s not hitting every guy that you want. It’s not just finding bargains, and it’s not executing your plan perfectly. It’s the process of having, and creating, A PLAN.

If you want to go in and spend $20 at every position to limit risk, that’s ok (although not suggested). I could go on and on all day about auctions – this will need to be discussed deeper in another episode. The best advice I can give is simply to go and get good players.

What helps me put drafting in perspective is checking the ADP’s of the guys I’m buying. Do I have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd round guy on my team? Am I only drafting 6th rounders? If so, there are lower chances of your team succeeding. If you have a couple of 1st rounders on your team… figure out if you’re good at identifying breakouts. Put some of those guys out early to see if you can snag them for cheap. Don’t be the last guy to spend your wad.

Top picks we’re low on:

Julio Jones (AM) is a tricky one for me this year. It’s not that I don’t think he can put up WR1 numbers – he’s a stud. He’s also questionable every year and not getting any younger. Calvin Ridley is recovering nicely from injury and he’s developing into a force. Atlanta’s defense took a beating last year – they were riddled with injuries. This forced them to throw the ball a ton. This year, they drafted Qadree Ollison to re-establish the running game behind incumbent Freeman and last year’s rookie Ito Smith.

Julio saw an astounding 170 targets last year after seeing 143 and 128 the 2 previous years. 170 is typically the highest in the league and only Antonio Brown had seen back to back years with that many in the past 4 years. There aren’t metrics showing he’s going to slow down any time soon, but it seems clear to me that regression is coming. If I’m drafting a WR1 at the end of the first or early second, I’m going with Adams, Thomas, and potentially even Juju over Julio.

While we’re on the topic, Hopkins seems almost as sketchy to me this year. Fuller and Coutee are both coming into their own. Hopkins has seen his targets go from 192-151-174-163 in the past 4 years. His catch rate last year was 10% above his career numbers at 70.6%. I love him as a person and a player, but don’t feel like he’s worth the 5th overall pick, which is where he has been going in the early draft season.

Amari Cooper (AM) is another guy going way too early in drafts at the WR position. If we’re talking best ball, he’s 100% worth the early 3rd round pick. Managers are going to remember how much better he was in Dallas than in Oakland. This is fair – but he played 9 games with the Cowboys. He was barely startable for 5 of those games. Slightly a stretch, but this is the 8th WR off the board. We talk .5 PPR here, but for simplicity sake, let’s say it was PPR:

  1. Week 9: 3-36-0 for 6.6 points
  2. Week 13: 4-32-0 for 7.2 points
  3. Week 14: 4-20-0 for 6.2 points
  4. Week 15: 5-31-0 for 8.1 points

That’s not a WR1. That’s barely a WR2!! He had 8-180-2 and 10-217-3 against the Skins and Eagles, respectively, who are divisional rivals whose defenses were pretty porous last year. He only had more than 8 targets in 4/9 games with the Cowboys. 8 targets a game equates to 128 targets in a season. OBJ had 124 targets last year… but he missed 4 games. Other WR’s around that range:

  1. Woods (131)
  2. Hilton (120 – missed 2 games)
  3. Golladay (118)
  4. Cooks (116)
  5. Tate (113)

Point is that he doesn’t get the volume you want a WR1 to get. He’s going to have big games – he’s a talented player. But the Boys run first and throw when they need to. I’m opting for almost anyone 4-5 spots behind him in ADP right now: Diggs, Edelman, Cooks, Woods, with Allen and Thielen close calls.

Is James Conner (Allen’s player – Markot’s response) worth a pick at the end of the 1st? All he did was step into his second year and finish as a RB1 (6th overall RB). IN 13 GAMES. Sure, the departure of Brown makes this offense slightly less threatening, but Juju is no slouch. Washington is primed for a breakout as is Vance. This elite offensive line is still the same. They didn’t bring in any backup behind Conner to threaten his workload.

Connor’s ADP sits at 1.12 right now behind Adams, Julio, Thomas, and Kelce. There is a clear dropoff after the top 5 backs, with Le’Veon sitting in this weird fantasy limbo. The other 2nd tier RB’s are:

  1. Todd Gurley – could be a huge value at 2.02
  2. Joe Mixon – at 2.04 on the Bengals, no thanks
  3. Dalvin Cook – 2.06 coming off a decent post-ACL year, but Mattison & volume concerns
  4. Nick Chubb – 2.08 right now which could be huge value, but they are the Browns

Conner is as safe as a RB1 as it gets right now in the high volume era. He may get hurt from negative game-script here and there, but he still saw 71 targets last year. Draft him with confidence in the late 1st or early 2nd.

Derrick Henry (Allen’s player – Markot’s response) finished last year extremely strong and won a lot of managers money with his studly playoff run. Do I think he’s a strong RB2 guy? Probably not. At the back-end of the 3rd round, currently the ADP is sitting at 3.12, is the earliest I’d take him. I like Kerryon better at 4.01 and potentially Ingram at 4.09.

Picks that people aren’t talking about:

Derrius Guice (AM) is being drafted in the early 7th round. I’m not telling you to pounce on him early, but this guy was at least in the same conversation as Saquon going into last year’s draft. He was ready to break out in a big way. He tore his ACL in August, so he will be 13 months into recovery when the season starts. Players make it back after 9-10 nowadays and are successful. AP and Thompson are behind him. One of them is 40 years old and another is purely a passing down back with injuries of his own.

The Redskins aren’t going to be great this year, so negative gamescript could hurt Guice. Overall, getting a guy who should get the lion’s share of the carries, and 10-18 touches a game, seems like a steal to me.

Vance McDonald (AM) is being talked about a lot this pre-season. Plenty of sleeper lists have him in the TE breakout spot. Yet his ADP isn’t quite reflecting it yet. At 7.07, he’s still sitting around the 90th player off draft boards. He’s being drafted as the TE10 and finished as the TE10 last year. That guy Antonio Brown left and brought his 170 targets with him… oh, wait, no he didn’t. Big Ben found a reliable option in Vance and it’s going to stick. If he gets 20 targets from AB’s share, which seems conservative, his targets go up by 28%. A 28% increase in points would have put him right behind Jared Cook for a TE6 finish. Jesse James also took away 40 potential targets from Micky D’s (doesn’t need much more clarifying) but the upside of Vance is sky high this year.

Cortland Sutton (AB’s player – Markot’s response) is someone no one is talking about but I think it’s for good reason. He’s being drafted around 9.04 before the likes of Samuel, Tate, Allison, Coutee, and Harry. This offense is going to look quite different this year, so it’s hard to predict his usage. We know that Flacco is good at the deep ball. We also know that the Broncos want to run the ball. Sutton seems like a poor man’s Amari Cooper to me. Great to throw a dart at in Best Ball leagues, but someone to stay away from in re-drafts because of his boom or bust nature.

Tyrell Williams (AB’s player – Markot’s response) at 13.01 is an absolute steal of a flier. Good find. Would much rather have him than D-Jax, Metcalf, Gallup, or Sanu… all of which are going before or right after Tyrell.

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